It’s Hanukkah, the time of year when everyone is braising briskets and frying latkes. The humble chopped liver is a dish that deserves some time in the spotlight. Not to be confused with pâté, chopped liver should never be smooth, it is a rustic dish and should always be chopped by hand – just like Bubbe used to make it.
Not only is it imperative that the liver be chopped by hand but also that schmaltz be the fat that is used. Schmaltz is chicken fat and it is the foundation of Jewish cuisine. Round up your schmaltz and your chicken livers. Make sure they are fresh, never frozen, and clean the livers well. Gribenes are a nice touch, so if you’ve got some chicken skin lying around, crisp it up and toss the chopped crackling into the mix.
There is a lot of talk about how rich and fattening this dish is – why does that have to be a bad thing? It is a special time of year, we all deserve to treat ourselves once in awhile and if not now, when?
The best way to enjoy chopped liver is simply spread on matzo, maybe with a dish of kosher pickles on the side. Here is our favourite chopped liver recipe. It is very simple to make and keeps well in the fridge so you can snack on it anytime. Enjoy it this weekend as you celebrate Hanukkah or as a treat after battling the crowds at the mall.
1 lb chicken livers
2 cups fine chopped onion
3 hard boiled eggs
6 Tbsp schmaltz
a scattering of gribenes
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the broiler to 500, broil livers 4 inches from the heat, 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oven and finely chop. Sauteé onions in the schmaltz until soft and just beginning to brown, stirring well. Add the livers for 1 minute, remove from heat. Pour contents of the pan into a bowl. Chop the eggs and add to the mix, along with the gribenes. Mix well and cover and refrigerate at least 3-4 hours before serving.